Tag: cell division

Chemical Behind the Smell of Rotting Flesh Prevents Seizures (in Tadpoles)

By Patrick Morgan | March 14, 2011 5:59 pm

Most people try not to associate themselves with bad breath, let alone the smells of purifying flesh. But that doesn’t deny the fact that your body naturally contains the same chemical underlying both of these smells—and in the future, people may even pay good money for that chemical, as new research shows that it helps (amphibian) victims of epileptic seizures.

The chemical is called putrescine (1,4 diaminobutane), a malodorous organic compound within the polyamine family—a group of molecules already known to play a crucial role in important functions like cell division. In large doses, it is quite toxic, and scientists weren’t so sure why this rotten-smelling compound shows up in the brains of seizure-stricken patients. Until now.

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